Karzai’s Office Says His Allegation “Misinterpreted”
Afghan president’s office on Monday released a statement in which it distanced from the allegations made over the weekend by president Karzai, who was quoted to have said to the Pakistani television channel Geo that in case of a war between the United States and Pakistan his country would side with the neighbor Pakistan.
The president’s office explained that Hamid Karzai has been “misinterpreted,” and that during the interview for the Pakistani television, conducted in English and Urdu, the president repeatedly urged Pakistan to address the problem of Islamist militants on its territory.
Responding to a question raised by the TV host whether Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in case of a war, the interview’s transcript shows that at first the president said “God forbid,” referring to the idea of war between the two nations, and that then he pledged his country’s support to Pakistan.
The transcript shows Karzai to say that “if war ever breaks out between Pakistan and America, we will side with Pakistan,” while the presidential office said that the media misinterpreted his words and that he never would have slammed the Western allies, which have spent billions endorsing his administration, but that he only wanted to show gratitude toward the neighboring country which has taken in millions of Afghans since the war broke out in Afghanistan ten years ago.
Western military officials and diplomats, while expressing persona dismay at hearing them, played down the importance of Karzai’s words. The civilian representative of NATO in Afghanistan said that a wider dialogue was important between Afghanistan and Pakistan and that that should be the focus of the efforts, not what the president of the country said during a television interview.
British Daily Mail reports that Americans were dismayed by the statement made by the Afghan president, but that a collaboration was needed between the three states in order to solve the problem of the Islamist insurgents.
Last week, US State Secretary spoke in Islamabad about the need that Pakistan get more involved in tackling the terrorists on its territory. Clinton spoke about the need to engage the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network, which are accused of being involved in the attacks in Afghanistan that have created a very volatile situation in the country.
The fact that Karzai has been asked such a question demonstrates a state of mind in Pakistan, where the relations with the United States have deteriorated following the killing of Osama bin Laden, which was killed on Pakistani territory last May.
Last year, the WikiLeaks cables revealed that Pakistani authorities had connections with insurgents in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The president of Pakistan denied the accusations on that occasion.
The cooperation deteriorated on the occasion of the killing of bin Laden, causing the American administration to cut off the financial support for Pakistan.
The bottom was touched when the American accused the Pakistani foreign intelligence of having cooperated with the Haqqani network in attacking the American embassy in Kabul in September.11